This article is actually a guest post from Jacob Hatch with Hydration Anywhere
Floating in the midst of the vast, majestic blue Pacific is one of the greatest warnings of the environmental damage modern industry has brought with it. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is often pictured as a huge floating island of debris marauding across the Pacific, but in reality it is perhaps more accurately described as an “accumulation zone” for small plastic particles.
Although at times the ocean currents can group huge amounts of large and very obvious garbage into highly visible patches in the ocean, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is mostly invisible to the naked eye. Small particles of plastic which have been broken down due to extensive exposure to the sun combine with chemical sludge and debris from all corners of the world to form a huge concentration of polluted ocean waters.
A Lesson in Recycling
Floating in the upper water column of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the highest levels of plastic particulates anywhere in the ocean have been detected. These particles are the result of the photodegradation of plastic – a process whereby sunlight breaks down large pieces of plastic waste into tiny, microscopic particles. The impacts of this pollution on the marine ecosystems are not well understood, but one thing is clear: we are dramatically altering the composition of this area of the ocean with potentially harmful chemicals. We are all familiar with the havoc larger pieces of plastic can cause for marine life, but information on what this huge pollution of microscopic particles is scarce and remains an open question.
The tragedy of ocean pollution is bad news not only for marine life. For those in plastic manufacturing, every piece of plastic trash which floats astray into the Pacific Garbage Patch – or any of other similar areas in oceans across the world – represents a loss of useful materials. Proper recycling prevents wasteful expenditure of valuable materials by reusing existing products. In a world with ever-rising petroleum prices and an unstoppable demand for plastic, the value in recycling plastic cannot be understated.
Much of the trash which ends up in our oceans comes in the form of packaging materials. This can range from wrappers for food, to plastic bottles for sodas or water, to plastic garbage and shopping bags. While these items make our lives more convenient, they are in many ways unnecessary. Reusable alternatives can be employed in everyday life to substantially reduce waste and environmental impact.
One of the best ways to reuse is to pickup a quality reusable water bottle. Take a look at the Hydration Anywhere feature “Best Water Bottles 2015 – Plastic, Glass & Stainless Steel Explored” (http://hydrationanywhere.com/best-water-bottles-2015-plastic-glass-stainless-steel/) for an exploration of the very best and most eco-friendly water bottles available.
Jacob Hatch is the author of the blog Hydration Anywhere (www.hydrationanywhere.com) – dedicated to providing a comprehensive resource for all things relating to staying hydrated! From environmental awareness to the latest info on water-related products and much, much more, be sure to check out the great content available for more from Jacob at Hydration Anywhere.